In today’s world, it is hard to imagine walking down the street and seeing a body hanging from a tree or a light post. However, for African-Americans during the Jim Crow years, the fear was finding the body of loved one, or being the one attached to the rope. America has a long history with […]Read more "Blood on the Leaves, Blood on the Roots: The Aftermath of Jim Crow"
I really enjoyed last week’s class – the movie and discussion with Bassett students brought an interesting dimension to the reading that we did. The theme throughout all of these that really stuck with me was identity, and how that can manifest itself and change and be difficult to define. Coming away from the movie […]Read more "Remembering Childhood Through Music"
Last week we watched the documentary Alive Inside, which explored the relationship of music and memory especially in cases of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Apart from making me sob for two hours, the film made a fantastic argument for music as a simple way to drastically improve the quality of life for individuals with these diseases, […]Read more "Take A Dose of Culture and Call Me in the Morning"
“I’m Socrates but my skin more chocolatey” -Kanye West, “See Me Now,” My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, 2010 When we spoke about artistry and provocativeness last class, immediately my mind jumped to Kanye West. Most everybody in our class knows that I am an unapologetic Kanye lover. I love his music, his antics, his rants, […]Read more "An Artist & An Asshole: Deconstructing Kanye West"
In the first chapter of Melissa Harris-Perry’s Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, she introduces the concept of the “crooked room.” This term comes from research studies in cognitive psychology on field dependence, which examines how humans perceive themselves to be vertical in a given space. Subjects were placed in a crooked […]Read more "Nicki Minaj and the Crooked Room"
For many African American women, their sexual expression and the perception of their bodies by others has not been historically theirs to own. With stereotypes such as the view as an overtly sexual being such as the “Jezebel” having followed them for centuries past and present, African American women struggle to express their sexual freedom. […]Read more "Express Yourself: Sexual Expression in Black Women Across Class Boundaries"
Like many of my classmates, I vividly remember the first time I heard “Strange Fruit.” I was in seventh grade, and it was at a school assembly in which students reenacted pivotal moments from the Civil Rights Movement (my school at the time was primarily black and went all the way up to twelfth grade). […]Read more "The Legacy of Strange Fruit"
After our discussion regarding Strange Fruit in class, I spent a little time searching for songs with hidden meaning. Strange Fruit for me doesn’t have a hidden a meaning, it’s simply a choice to hear, or not hear, the message. I wanted to see what messages were out there that I might have missed before. […]Read more "Hidden So Deep, It’s Not Even There"
Southern trees bear a strange fruit Blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black bodies swingin’ in the Southern breeze Strange fruit hangin’ from the poplar trees – “Strange Fruit”  The first time I heard “Strange Fruit”, a song popularized by legendary jazz songstress Billie Holiday, I was transfixed. Lulled by the […]Read more "Strange Resistance"
Everyone knows that an excellent song has to have a first-rate title to draw listeners in and a killer “hook” to keep them wanting more. Apparently, blogs are no different. As I sat pondering what to name this particular post, In Defense of the African Queen came out as a forerunner. But when I thought […]Read more "“The African Queen”: From Classic Blues to the Hip-Hop Feminist"